Ingrid Karklins


I've put this off for years. Writing a bio. Those third-person things with the artist's name in bold caps. But I realize one is really needed. So, here, perfectly honest, first person, like a rambling letter of memories is part of my life...

Classically trained (piano & violin). Started at 5. Memories of the unending hours waiting for my turn at student recitals. Impossibly nervous. Inevitably made mistakes. My violin teacher made me cry. Called me "girlie". But she also had a magical Christmas box with tiny wooden and crystal animals and instruments.

I could see the river from the window in my room in the attic. And I could see the stars. Though I grew up in the heart of Chicago, it was a wild place. There were few street lights and an empty lot next to us. The river swirled wildly in the spring, when the wild geese came. It froze in the winter, a silent, frigid beast. I think that window/river/stars have much to do with who I am today.

I grew up a part of two cultures: Latvian and American. Though never really settled in either. I speak both languages fluently. Taught myself to play kokle (Latvian lap-harp). Being Latvian makes me go beyond what appears on the surface, looking for the roots. Most of Latvia's ancient beliefs are contained in the "dainas" or songs where the core of its cultural knowledge has been stored. The dainas have survived through centuries of foreign invasions. They've survived because, though they contain a phenomenal amount of early spiritual belief and understanding, the Latvians shunned organized religion and instead just sang. No one thought to keep them from singing.

After moving to Austin, Texas, put together Grimalkin, my first professional performing group. We were together for 7 years. It was primarily a Celtic-music group, though not the stereotyped Irish-American thing. Kind of cutting edge. We always had music that was world oriented: eastern things, a Balkan piece, French, Latvian. We were pretty popular, voted "Best Folk Band" for two years in the Austin Chronicle readers' Music PoII. I also played on the first Poi Dog Pondering album, and with an all-girl rock band called Amazon.

I had a child a year after Grimalkin's final performance. While I was pregnant, I was able to start hearing my creative "voice" Realizing that something was trying to push it's way to the surface. But music has never been an option for me. It comes and must play it. Put out my first album on Green Linnet Records in 1992, A Darker Passion. A strong, positive response. ("A breathtaking marriage of Latvian folk songs and artsy pop, " Option Magazine.)

My new CD, Anima Mundi (1994) has just come out on Green Linnet. (Already encouraging reviews..."Outstanding are the sharp, funky edges of Ligo, the hypnotic air of Race the Sky, and the poignant groove of Kas Dind" from Billboard.) The ancient thinkers believed there was a fifth element called aethec more subtle than air or fire, a substance similar to that of the stars, immortal and eternal, which pervades all things. This is the anima mundi or World Soul. They believed that music could transmit World Soul and carried the spirit of the singer.

I now live in a wild place of my own. Rare birds, trees, wildflowers, reptiles, insects. The clouds race over. ride a bicycle most of the time. love strong coffee. And to quote a Zulu love song in its entirety: I walk alone.

My bio for you. Hope it'll do. Consider it honest. Above all else: honesty. Then silence.


Intelligent, sparse music from the soul. Not music for the masses.
Unpredictable. Uncompromised. Dark. Powerful. Intense. Elemental.

Exploding beyond the narrow confines of "musical genre". Music as a powerful communicator, a common language. Simultaneously instinctive & intellectual. Spiritual and primitive. Sensual & human. Critically contemporary, extending beyond schisms of language and boundary.

This is not a novelty/formula act. Just honest music.
Which might be a novelty in itself.

Don't box it in.

We discovered Ingrid Karklins through her 1994 release on Green Linnet Records, Anima Mundi. Immediately on first listen, the sense of a very unique gifted artist is evident. Instinctively you know that an extraordinary talent is at work here, and that you will become a life long admirer and supporter of her music. It will be very exciting indeed to follow her musical odyssey as it winds and weaves its way into the future. Her rite, our joy.

What Others Are Saying

A one-of-a-kind artist. Delineated by dreams...fired by passion, reflecting Karklins' determination to blaze a trail that is all her own.
--- Austin American Statesman

Ingrid Karklins is fire and air. Karklins drives me crazy, she makes me use words that would freeze my blood if l saw them anywhere else. Words like "challenging ", "demanding " or “difficult”, coupled with "rewarding". Trouble is that they're all appropriate, she's all those things. Darkly brooding, as much haunted as haunting.
--- Music City Texas

Exotic, highly electric (and eclectic) art-rock. Karklins' voice is rich, deep and evocative.
-- Austin Chronicle

A fascinating combination of theater and impressionist sound. She is experimental and surreal.
-- Zassafras Music News

She's out there somewhere in a smoky, ethereal realm of her own. Musical performance artistry at its most unique, too intelligent for thud rock mentalities. Highly recommended.
-- Texas Beat

Her songs cross stylistic and temporal houndaries, mixing European folk styles, the cool, cybernetic modulations of Laurie Anderson, and the shamanistic abandon of late-model Kate Bush with something even darker and more primitive. It’s the utter mystery of Karklins' music that first gets to you.
-- Austin Chronicle

Once in a great while, you run across something so rare, honest and utterly original as to defy edgy pop sensibility.
-- Tucson Citizen

International rhythms, sensual basslines, unconventional sound effects and spirited arrangements make Ingrid Karklins one of the most promising figures in experimental world/pop.
-- CMJ Music Marathon

There is a seamlessness to the way she brings together ancient traditional Latvian music and cutting edge electronic pop. Comparisons to Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush have been prompted by those too lazy to sense the uniqueness of Karklins' music, and she does share with those artists an other-worldly, futurist bent. This need to do something different seems to be the basis of Karklins personality. With a quick mind, an artist's free-spirited soul, and, thankfully, a sense of humor, Karklins will no doubt continue to use her music as a vehicle to explore the past, the world around her, and the world(s) yet to he seen.
-- Jazziz

Ingrid Karklins is a priestess...recalls a time when music was primarily a cultural instrurnent with ritual meaning.
-- Liesma

There's alot of undercurrents in the work of Ingrid Karklins. Her art seems to involve a search for ritual that will remain valid in modern usages.
-- Boston Rock

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